Rev Dr Anne Kazich left medicine in 2012 to train as a Church of England priest. In 2018 she returned to NHS general practice, having completed the GP Induction and Refresher Scheme. She now works as a part-time GP and part-time priest in Skelmersdale.
I knew I wanted to be a doctor from the age of 10. I went to medical school in Hamburg and then came to England and decided to become a GP here. I loved the idea that you get to see patients through from birth to death.
Once qualified, I started working as a GP in Liverpool. I loved being a GP but my faith has always been important to me. After a few years, I found that the practice was getting busier and the culture wasn’t supportive.
In 2010 I moved into a part-time salaried role and eventually left general practice in 2012 to begin training as a priest. During my curacy in Skelmersdale, I became aware of the socio-economic issues in the area and saw myself having a community-based role as priest, but at the time there was no funding.
I always felt my 'ministry' was not within church, but among the people in the community. So, in 2017 I started exploring returning to general practice via the Induction and Refresher Scheme. After the initial interview and paperwork, I sat an exam, which wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
I was then given a three-month placement with the Beacon Primary Care practice, which was great and very supportive. They tailored my timetable according to my needs and I had regular tutorials. At the end of my placement there was a final review and a written placement report, after which I was ’signed off’ as ready to go back as a fully qualified GP.
In June 2018 I started working at Beacon as salaried GP. I work three days a week as a GP and two days as a priest, which works well for me in terms of a healthy balance.
Coming back to general practice felt like coming home. As I have a passion for healing and a holistic approach, I’m glad because two vocations have come together in a way I would have never dreamed of.
Patients generally react positively to me wearing my collar in the practice; it opens up different conversations. Due to my links within the community, I’m able to do more social prescribing.
It’s been a steep learning curve but, after nine months back in paid employment, I feel that I’ve found my bearings. It’s fulfilling and I have a great team who are very supportive.
I would recommend anyone thinking about returning to practice to shadow a GP to see how it feels and how things might have changed since practising. If you feel motivated to come back to general practice, the GP Returner Scheme is a well-resourced thing to do. Even if it’s overwhelming at first, you will catch up. Don’t be too hard on yourself and give it time.
Find out more about the help and support available for GP returners at www.gpreturner.nhs.uk